Wales’ Rapid Diagnosis Centres are an exciting development with the potential to radically reduce time to cancer diagnosis.
Based on a model developed in Denmark, rapid diagnosis centres (RDCs) seek to address the unmet needs of patients who do not meet referral criteria to an urgent suspected cancer pathway, because of the absence of clear ‘red flag’ symptoms. The RDC allows GPs to use their ‘gut feeling’ and refer adults with vague but concerning symptoms that could lead to a cancer diagnosis.
To date, Swansea Bay and Cwm Taf Morgannwg health boards have piloted RDCs and both demonstrated they can dramatically reduced the time to cancer diagnosis for this group of patients as well as being cost effective. The Swansea Bay team has reduced the mean time to diagnosis for cancers in patients they see from c.84 days previously, to c.7 days if the diagnosis is made at the RDC, and c.41 days if further investigations are needed. Other life-altering conditions are also diagnosed more quickly, and a faster diagnosis – whether positive or negative - reduces anxiety significantly for all.